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Saturday, November 18, 2006

"If you believe everything you read, better not read." - Japanese Proverb


Some people oppose the GST hike because it is regressive - the rich spend a smaller proportion of their income than the poor, especially on items covered by the GST. Yet, the tax hike should be supported despite - nay, because - it is regressive.

The rich are the most productive members of society, and the poor are the least. Taxing productive people at the same rate as unproductive people not only distorts the incentives to work (and creates deadweight losses in the market) but is grossly immoral.

The Singaporean government recognises this point, which is why it has what is probably, next to Hong Kong, the lowest taxes in the world. In a globalised world, capital and skilled labour are eminently mobile - if you raise taxes, they will just move to other countries. They should thus be taxed lightly, if at all. Lowering corporate and income taxes will thus attract international investors and stop brain and capital drain.

Meanwhile, to make up for tax shortages, the poor can be hit with regressive taxes like GST and even a poll tax; unlike the rich they are unable to migrate and will be hit with the full force of these measures. Some recommend a higher rate of tax on luxury items, but demand for these products is more elastic than for necessities. To raise tax revenue, it makes more sense to tax necessities (ie If you increase taxes on LV handbags, people will buy fewer handbags, but if you increase the taxes on rice, people still have to eat).

If it were possible to fill the coffers this way, a regressive income tax should even be implemented (ie The more you earn, the less tax you pay). This will encourage people to work harder and be more productive, and promote the principle of meritocracy on which Singapore's survival rests.

With these measures in place, we will definitely see more years of robust growth to come.
Mongoose Publishing :: View topic - Lone Wolf - Back with a Vengeance!

Hi guys,

In what has rapidly turned into our worst kept secret, I can now reveal (some) of what is going on with Lone Wolf. . .

You may have already heard about the new Lone Wolf computer game coming out in early 2008 (we are told). We have seen some of the concepts going around for this project and, well, they are awesome!

For our part, we are going to be kicking into high gear with Lone Wolf. Have a look at the following projects. . .

Next year will see the release of two new trilogies set in Magnamund, and more will be following. You will be able to find these in most good bookstores, starting Summer 2007.

Well, we have something special planned for Lone Wolf fans here! To begin with, we will be re-releasing all the original gamebooks - but with a difference. The first volume is currently being re-written by Mr Dever, expanding the story. Think of it as a director's cut. Subsequent volumes will feature all new art and gaming material, including a new mini-series of adventures running alongside the greater Lone Wold story.

That is not all - as you may have already heard, Mr Dever is also working on books 29-32, completing the saga that was started many, many years ago (Lone Wolf was actually my introduction to RPGs!). You can expect to see these late 2007/early 2008.

That is not all either, however. . .

While you will be able to pick these new Lone Wolf books up from your local book store, we will also have them available from our web site, and there will be a special treat in store for dedicated fans. Whether you take a subscription out to be sent the gamebooks as soon as they are released, or simply collect them one by one at your pleasure, anyone who orders the complete set from us (over whatever time period) will also be sent their own replica of the Sommerswerd, free of charge. We will have pictures of this magnificent blade next year, before the gamebooks become available. Drool at your leisure!

We will also be producing a new set of gamebooks, centred around another famous character in Magnamund.

Roleplaying Game
We spent a lot of time thinking and debating about the Lone Wolf RPG. We have decided to release a new Lone Wolf RPG alongside the gamebooks, with mechanics based on (though expanded) from the system found in the gamebooks themselves. Our intention here is to a) give Lone Wolf RPG fans a quick and easy to learn system allowing them to tour Magnamund, but mostly for b) a fond hope that we can bring new players into the hobby using the same road that we took all those years ago.

Life is going to get exciting in Magnamund!
Matthew Sprange

Mongoose Publishing
Of Deformity

Deformed persons are commonly even with nature; for as nature hath done ill by them, so do they by nature; being for the most part (as the Scripture saith) void of natural affection; and so they have their revenge of nature. Certainly there is a consent, between the body and the mind; and where nature erreth in the one, she ventureth in the other. Ubi peccat in uno, periclitatur in altero. But because there is, in man, an election touching the frame of his mind, and a necessity in the frame of his body, the stars of natural inclination are sometimes obscured, by the sun of discipline and virtue. Therefore it is good to consider of deformity, not as a sign, which is more deceivable; but as a cause, which seldom faileth of the effect. Whosoever hath anything fixed in his person, that doth induce contempt, hath also a perpetual spur in himself, to rescue and deliver himself from scorn. Therefore all deformed persons, are extreme bold. First, as in their own defence, as being exposed to scorn; but in process of time, by a general habit. Also it stirreth in them industry, and especially of this kind, to watch and observe the weakness of others, that they may have somewhat to repay. Again, in their superiors, it quencheth jealousy towards them, as persons that they think they may, at pleasure, despise: and it layeth their competitors and emulators asleep; as never believing they should be in possibility of advancement, till they see them in possession. So that upon the matter, in a great wit, deformity is an advantage to rising. Kings in ancient times (and at this present in some countries) were wont to put great trust in eunuchs; because they that are envious towards all are more obnoxious and officious, towards one. But yet their trust towards them, hath rather been as to good spials, and good whisperers, than good magistrates and officers. And much like is the reason of deformed persons. Still the ground is, they will, if they be of spirit, seek to free themselves from scorn; which must be either by virtue or malice; and therefore let it not be marvelled, if sometimes they prove excellent persons; as was Agesilaus, Zanger the son of Solyman, AEsop, Gasca, President of Peru; and Socrates may go likewise amongst them; with others.

--- The Essays or Counsels, Civil and Moral, of Francis Ld. Verulam Viscount St. Albans, Francis Bacon
"It is difficult to produce a television documentary that is both incisive and probing when every twelve minutes one is interrupted by twelve dancing rabbits singing about toilet paper." - Rod Serling


HWMNBN: sigh
more money down the rapacious maw of the government

tax is theft

all spent on fruitless endeavous like supporting laggards and slackers and losers who are incapable of self-supporting. either that, or paying for the military-industrial complex

Me: the bourgeoisie's salary is theft from the proletariat
all spent on rubbish like $18,000 bottles of wine, fuel-inefficient SUVs and casino gambling. either that or supporting rich wastrels

HWMNBN: tehre's a distinction between private property and public property
if the bourgeoisie earn their own money, have nthey not the right to spend it?

Me: no
they earn their money from exploiting the proletariat
hurr hurr

HWMNBN: well.. that is true. *grins* but like any exploiter i prefer to dish it out rather than take

Someone: the *** 'legend' of him is that he flirts with the girls he teaches

and an even more extreme urban legend is some girl's grade from C became A after comin out fr his office

Me: hehe
does he?
ok I'm motivated to do PhD

Someone: i think tat 1 is v normal in the states but in nus its like some big shit scandal for *** majors haha

anyway they all look like shit lor. i hardly see gd looking lecturers
** prettiest in *** liao
but she's really pretty. i like her dress sense and she always seems so composed

Me: aiyah
you're in uni! go for students lahhaha

Someone: haha i dun wan *** lar
but its a motivation to go for lecture can
at least u noe u wun be facing some balding ass or sagging bitch

Someone else: intro some pretty gals to me
i've seen u around sch
u look pretty cool with ur long hair tied up

u rox
u look cool with ur long hair :)

Me: hahahahaha
rare praise

Someone else: so u intro some gals to me

Me: wah lao
no wonder you praised me haha

Someone: so which course are you taking in school, literature?

because you write like a lit student, which i was once
long long time ago

Frigid Girl: most guys don't judge, btw
the only thing they -do- judge is your figure and looks

most girls are bitchy
as a result they use up all their judgment quota
Wth?! In the IVLE Forum:

A: Hmmm...im quite doubtful that the package is really gonna offset the impact of the GST hike on the poor and elderly. But i guess its something the government has to do in order for Spore to maintain at a competitive edge?

I was wondering if there is anyway measures other than a GST hike that could help close the income gap and finding different sources where the government can tap to increase government spending, cos i don think we want to have a few % increase in GST once every few years.Of thats the case, we will be approaching where the Scandanavians are today very soon!

Me: GST increases the income gap.

Scandinavia has a high tax rate, but they also have a splendid welfare state: http://waynesoon.blogspot.com/2006/11/first-world-taxes-without-first-world.html

B: Scadinavians design nokia phones, but we make plastic phone covers and silicon chips. we don't deserve and we can't earn as much as them. i mean even their old folks go for computer lessons to upgrade themselves after retirement, but ours only know how to buy 4D and drink kopi.

Even if we have the same income tax rate as them, their tax revenue will still be much higher than ours . so of course they can have a 'splendid welfare state', furthermore, such a state can only be achieved gradually, we are nowhere near that stage yet.

Must... resist... the urge...

Maybe after I finish Problem Set Modigliani.
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Google site search:

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Friday, November 17, 2006

From a post I wrote last April about exam season in NUS. 3 semesters later, I venture that things are pretty much the same (except that the 6th floor of the Central Library is not open 22 1/2 hrs a day on weekdays):

Exam tales

My sources have been telling me tales of what school looks like during exam period, so the following is all compiled from second hand data, since I study (or try to, anyway) at home.

Apparently when the Central Library opens at 8am, it's like a shopping centre holding a sale. People are waiting outside the doors, and once the doors open, they rush in. Apparently one morning there was this PRC in running attire, and as he ran in he was laughing, perhaps driven mad by the stress of the exam period.

Meanwhile, in Engineering people bring hammocks to school for their overnight camping expeditions (maybe they think the spirits of Engineering students of years gone by will infuse them with their power, wisdom and knowledge), and hang them by the handles on the windows. They also bring enough food enough, according to my friend, to last him half a year. At one location, after a few hours the whole corridor (which is air-conditioned) smells of cup noodles.

Over at Science, people mug overnight in the canteen and the next day, they're still raring to go, so they continue mugging throughout the day. In Medicine, there are "PRC couples making out in the medicine library", with "unshaven armpits, unshaven moustaches, and fucking bad dress sense". Someone else adds that: "oh man they all smell weird".

And in Yusof Ishak House (YIH), there's a 24 hour study room, so people get really hardcore. The libraries at least have closing times, so people are forced to leave. In YIH, however, people camp overnight, and the floor is strewn with plastic bags. It is also crowded, unhygienic and humid, so diseases easily spread. All in all, the place looks like a refugee camp. Meanwhile Munchie Monkey's has unveiled a supper menu and gone 24 hours, so the muggers can ensconce themselves in YIH 23/7 (the room is cleaned for an hour daily) all the way from the start of the exam period to the end of it.

All throughout the school, libraries are jammed up (though my No 1 fan tells me that there's a 'surprisingly high number of cute guys in library this semester'). There are more people with outbreaks on the face, and instant drink machines run out of coffee. Printers go into overdrive as people who have never printed their notes before go print a whole semester's worth of notes at the sole printer, clogging it up. All hell breaks loose.

This is awfully depressing, and enough to get one to study at home. Maybe studying's a social activity for them; mutual suffering is a time-honoured ritual of human bonding.

[Addendum: skye bleu: the PRC students they put some "tea leaf" kinda sediments in their water
bottle and they ALWAYS dump the sediments when they empty their contents in the
dispenser.. GROSS.. could someone teach them some manners? haha!!]

Now, of course NTU has to go one-up on NUS. And so they have. Spectacularly.

Hungry Ghost Festival in NTU

"The yearly hungry ghost festival in NTU. Gates of hell are opened and the hungry ghosts of NTU are released.

this is an actual scene of students rushing into lib at 830am"

Someone: looks like they are refugees rushing for food handouts sia
even the toilet queue at the national stadium isn't as bad

Hi. Whoever you are, I see you.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Well. Now that was fun!

(Check out the post below this, or click here if you're lazy, for more background)

It all started maybe 2 weeks or so ago, when selected NUS were told that they had been invited to a dialog with a US VIP. Nothing was revealed at this stage. About a week ago, they found out that it was George W Bush, but up till today his identity was kept from the public at large; YuCheng, Lin was walking down the UCC road and the policeman claimed he couldn't walk in his own school because the President was coming, and on being queried which President, he claimed it was the Singaporean one.

I was speculating why there was all this secrecy, even in the local media (so I'm told), where a big hoo hah would usually be raised, and praise for Singapore would gush bounteously and obsequiously in the Shitty Times. I concluded that Singapore doesn't like to be associated with losers, and anyway we have our Free Trade Deal already.

People invited told me that they would be subject to strict security checks, and would not be allowed to bring signs, audio recorders or video cameras (apparently still cameras were alright). I speculated that besides the obvious fear of our exercising our Freedom of Speech, guaranteed by *both* the US and Singapore constitutions, this was because they were afraid people would capture audio and/or videographic evidence of a Bushism.

I was trying to get people to say, in the unlikely event of a Q&A, that "I think your policies in Iraq are reprehensible", and then get arrested by the Secret Service. Too late, I thought of a better question, "In pushing through the Patriot Act were you trying to make the US more like Singapore?" This way one could not be accused of causing trouble (indeed, we know that Singapore's Internal Security Act is something to be emulated, since even the USA, the Land of the Free, is trying to imbibe the Cultural Learnings of Singapore for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of America.

Inevitably, everyone asked me why I wasn't invited, so I simply said that I'd been blacklisted long ago. Hurr hurr. I doubt they'd want a repeat of the Jamie 'Despot' Han incident again anyway.

I wasn't intending to go and sightsee, but since someone created a Facebook Event, I made time in my un-Busy Schedule to have a look. Unfortunately I didn't have my camera, but we make do with what we have.

I ordered my minions to gather at the Forum at 5:15 and YIH at 6:30, but only a few of them turned up. In particular, I was missing the presence of 6 inch, who was rushing her essay, since I would be lacking legal counsel and information regarding my constituional rights (ie None). Nonetheless, she helpfully informed me that, "i bet you the police dont even understand what section of the penal code they're arresting us under. but wth they can lock us up for 48 hrs then let us go, with no repercussions. 48 hrs to search up sth to charge us with". I stressed repeatedly that I was going as an observer, and not a participant, but I had faith in the ingenuity of the prosecutorial agents to find something to charge me with, if need be.

Meanwhile, YuCheng, Lin told me that he was at the Balmoral with a friend and a motorcade sped past him. He saw a monkey waving to him in one limousine.

3 red-beret wearing SOF troopers, opposite the Central Library.

When I called the organiser of the Heckling, it turned out that they'd relocated from YIH, the original rendezvous point, to LT7A. Unfortunately when I reached LT7A, they'd relocated to the steps in front of Engineering and opposite UCC. Reaching there, I was greeted by this sight:

A brunette Caucasian girl, whose name I won't put here "just in case "they" are watching", had a black umbrella with the words "Bush is a war criminal" scrawled in white paint. As you can see, she was being questioned by our vigilant security staff to make sure she wasn't a terrorist, and her particulars taken down. I mean, she could've rigged the umbrella like the Penguin in Batman Returns, and sprayed bullets at Bush.

Or as someone commented: "excuse me ***, I think you're taking the umbrella issue a BIT too lightly here. Umbrellas will inevitably inspire political instability, protect against rain, and likely lead to democractic reforms in this perfectly funtioning soft-authoritarian society. If we allow political umbrellas today... we'll probably be running around condoning ethnic-equality sun-block tomorrow. we've got to keep these things under control here.
... Ps. That girl's my hero!! who is she?!"

News crew.
My intel on Facebook say there were some media people. This camera looks too expensive to be a ISD one. But who knows. It doesn't make a difference also. Too bad the local media didn't come down.

Road block.
If they'd time and the ability to cordon off the area, I'm sure they'd have made it look like Suntec City around the time of the IMF/World Bank meetings, ie A concentration camp. Fortunately they only had a few hours.

I'm notoriously bad at estimating crowds, but when I was asked to estimate the crowd I gave a figure of 30-40 people. On second thought I think maybe it was 50-60. One Facebooker gives a wide band of 50-100.
Oddly enough, there were quite a lot of PRCs. Maybe they were curious what peaceful protest in a democratic country looked like. Oh wait...

I think there were more police than civilians

Umbrella girl being questioned.


Police camera. Note how lousy it is compared to the media camera.

We were playing this game called "Spot the ISD Agents/Plainclothes Policemen". Really, I don't know why they bother.

Another "Where's the ISD agent?" picture. This also shows the 5-6 active hecklers - the rest of us were just there to lend moral support, look at the show and copy down 4D numbers in case someone got arrested.

4 of my minions.

The last minion, who came in time to proffer legal advice. He said he saw snipers on the roof while coming.

Bush's extremely long motorcade, and the heckling. At first I thought NUS Campus Security brought up the rear, but it turns out they were police cars. No wonder the former shares the latter's colours. Actually you can't hear the heckling. I'm quite sure I took a video of it ("Boo!", "Go home!", "We don't want you here!"), but maybe something went wrong (d'oh!) or it just can't be heard due to technical problems. You can see the umbrella being waved at the motorcade though. Also this video would've been longer, but Gayle called me while I was shooting it. Grr.

A contributed photograph of the booing

Umbrella girl shows her umbrella to the police cameras, to applause from the onlookers.

Protestors and locals flash the V-sign with the umbrella. YuCheng, Lin suggested we do that. On second thought, we should've.

There was this Sikh policeman who had a really funky turban - it had vertical stripes going down it, alternating between grey and white, like the body of the Aedes mosquito.

Contributed pictures from the inside: it's even worse than a Potemkin Village. Whoever did the design should be shot.

Contributed pictures of Dubya speaking

Contributed pictures of the fortress security

SOF buses at Kent Vale

Interestingly enough, I didn't see any US security officers. They must trust us a lot. Or the Gurkhas, at least.

Other reports; please leave a comment if you find other posts on this; videos of the heckling are especially appreciated:

"To those of you who have concerns about holding an anti-bush protest overseas, I'm of the opinion that is exactly the place to be doing it. This isn't about votes, it's not about influencing the internation political order of the world, it's about expressing our feelings as people who are impacted in very real ways by the policies which this man has enabled to come to pass. The implications of US policies have far reaching results, and if we can be affected anywhere we are in the world, then we can, and should, protest anywhere in the world we are.

Being in Singapore, social protest is all the more important, we are not only acting against Bush but also against a (semi-)authoritarian regime which repesses its citizens into a psudo-democracy at best. If Singapore wasn't such an important economic ally of the US we would be bombing it along with the other repressive regimes around the world that dont sell us oil (those bastards how dare they not sell us oil!)

To those who want to wait to see what he has to say before we protest, he's had 6 years to say ANYTHING that might even come close to redeeming himself...and has failed at every turn, at least in my opinion. I will not sit by and watch as "my" president embarrasses "my" country and makes me more ashamed, and more afraid of being a US citizen with every word he says and every policy he suggests.

His words and his visits contribute nothing but fear (and some comic relief) to the international political order and accomplish nothing but draining national funds from other countries (and cause major political backlash for the leaders of those countries...like President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia who is facing a no confidence vote because of Bush's visit yesterday)

The man takes bad news and worse vocabulary wherever he goes. He bleongs in the hole in the ground in the mid west that the US embassy thinks I should be hiding in because the world is to dangerous...thanks to bush

Well, we were about 50-100 when bush arrived...about 20 when he left.

Got hell from the police and campus security: The guy in white (those who were there know who I mean) threatened one of the others with something along the lines of "you want to dare me? go on, I'll show you I mean business and I'll make you sorry" all because the guy was answering his questions properly :)

We got asked if we were "with an organization"

Photos from the DPA (german press?) and 2 others as well as one TV camera and hundreds of digi cam and phone pictures, we'll see if it shows up anywhere.

That's about it..not much interesting...although there were 5-6 police officers and one plainclothes following the umbrella at all times...good ratio there, those umbrellas are scary things :)

Oh, and the police got everything on camera and I would like to point out that one of the soldiers spit on the street and nobody did anything...

and the reason we got for having security/police try to confiscate the umbrella was that we were "drawing a crowd" which apparently is high treason in Singapore...I thought it was Bush drawing a crowd <shrug>"

Someone who was there on the speech (transcript):

"the news makes it sound like he said a lot when..
he basically said nothing

it's true right
he said things we can all write in our gp essays"
Finally, a NUS Facebook event! After all the US parties where people get drunk and get laid, we're going to get some action too.

Update: View the post above, or click here if you're lazy, to find out how it went.

Event Info
Name: Bush Heckling
Tagline: Because he's here, and we're not allowed to!
Host: ***
Type: Causes - Protest

Time and Place
Date: Thursday, November 16, 2006
Time: 2:30pm - 8:00pm
Venue: University Cultural Center (Yusof Ishak House is probably the closest we can get)

Bush is giving a speech at NUS on Thursday at the UCC and I dont particularly want him here...and I'm sure neither do you.

Come join the fun as we try to avoid getting arrested by the Singapore Police for protesting, shot by the Secret Service for insulting "the man" and expelled for breaking some school rule that probably prohibits gatherings of more than 1.5 people for anything other than accademic reasons.

Yay social protest in authoritarian countries against a wanna-be-but-is-too-stupid-to-be global "leader".

I am amused that, of the 21 confirmed guests (as of time of publication), only 2 are local NUS undergraduates; the rest are either on exchange from the US, graduate students or not even in the NUS network (and presumably not here).

I asked what was going to happen, and got a very comforting reply: "My guess is we wont be able to do or see much, this is two of the most anal/efficient security services in the world so dont expect to get too close and dont try too much. If you get arrested, call me, I'll help ya out :)"
Here's a good Dante quote:

“There is no greater sadness than to recall happy times in times of misery.” - Francesca in Inferno, Canto V

("Nessun maggior dolore che ricordarsi del tempo felice ne la miseria")

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

daNiel's blog: Retirement, Big House?

"Before I proceed, let me describe my hate for Channel 8's serial dramas. They, are an insult to my intelligence. The characters are so transparent you know precisely how they will react each time. Their characters fall into categories that, even after so many years, does not seem to change, e.g.
  • Stupid and lazy
  • Stupid but hardworking
  • Cunning, manipulative
  • Talkative
There is also another word which describes just about every character in their serials: lovesick. The actors' lines also do not change (guess they have not been able to employ better Chinese teachers). The plot does not even attempt to create any sense of mystery into a character or future episodes you can virtually predict everything to come. Take an example:
  1. A and B are sisters. B is a bastard daughter of a rich tycoon. Both got reunited recently. A is cunning, hates B, because of a love triangle.
  2. One day A and B are in a car. B leaves the car for the toilet. A was suddenly robbed of a jewel after being knocked unconscious with a handkerchief soaked in some anaesthetic.
  3. A and B goes home. A accuses B of instigating the robbery.
  4. The father, C, starts and investigation. (the jewel was supposed to be delivered to a client)
  5. Investigator discovers a handkerchief at the robbery scene.
  6. Investigator discovers some smell on the handkerchief, sends handkerchief for analysis. (goof here: chloroform is very volatile. It definitely would not exist 20 minutes after the robbery. The investigation started at least one day after the robbery)
  7. Investigator discovers a bottle of chloroform in B's room.
Immediately, you can determine these:
  1. A set up B by putting the bottle of chloroform in the drawer.
  2. B will be in trouble with C. There'll be quarrel. B will be disowned yet again.
  3. B's boyfriend will come to B's help and discover the truth.
  4. B and B's boyfriend confront C. C admits mistake OR C initially disbelieves, but his own investigation reveals the truth.
  5. C scolds A. A hates C.
  6. ... many things happen
  7. Finally, A gets what she deserved. The poor get justice, the rich are punished.
I cannot exactly describe with words how intellectually deprived one who watches Channel 8 will get. But the plays on stereotypes and age-old cliches are positively shit."
"Economists become upset when they learn that we aren't spending money as they've planed for us" - Eliot Marshall, as quoted in Gordon Ch 15

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Sungei Gedong Memories... pictures from military photos on webshots

I love security breaches.

The Road of Desolation, Despair and Depression

Guess the next batch is suffering too

Pussy Company; from the toilet and smoking point pictures I think this person was from there

One of the most hateful sights I've ever had the misfortune to behold

Dulce Et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mori

Once Armour, Always Suffer
Rowlf the Dog - When

When the whipperwill is singing in the forest
When the little brook is murmuring a tune
When the mockingbird is chirping in the wildwood
And a lonely wolf is howling at the moon

When the leaves of the old oak tree start a rustling
And the waterfall makes sounds like woman's tears
When the whole world is filled with Mother Nature's noises
That's the time to stuff cotton in your ears.

Monday, November 13, 2006

July trip
23/7 - D Day Beaches

There was a hotel near the station which had an unbelievable offer - €21 for a single. Consider that my hostel cost €19 per bed per night, and €20 without membership.

Traveling to the beaches on a public bus would've cost me €30 already, and there were only 4 buses on Sunday, so I'd see much more with the tour.

There was really nice weather in the morning. It was even, for the first time in July, a little bit cold.

I had a pain aux chocolat and a pain aux raisins for breakfast. The hostel had breakfast provided, but it started at 8 and I was supposed to be at the pickup point for my D Day tour at 8.

The female guide said there had been a heatwave for the past 3 weeks. So it wasn't just me, and it wasn't usually that bad in July!

I should probably get down to watching Saving Private Ryan some time.

I opted for the US/British tour. There was a US/Canadian tour, but only Canadians could possibly be interested in that, and the full-day US tour was for ignorant Americans who didn't know or care about other countries' contributions (hurr hurr).

The first stop was the German cemetery at La Cambe.

German cemetery - Crosses


If I'd taken the public bus, I wouldn't have been able to visit the German Cemetery.

There were more than 21,222 graces in the German Cemetery - the largest burial in the smallest plot of land. Kinda expected.

"The Germans always like this part of France and they try to take it" - Guide on Alsace-Lorraine

More crosses

I like the cross on the ceiling. I think this was the chapel.

Memorial wall

They maintain and extend the German Cemetery with international youth camps. The knowledge that school labour can be exploited seems to be universal.

La Pointe Du Hoc. The only place in Normandy which still has bomb craters, since the owner didn't fill them up (I think he wanted it as a memorial to the war)

1944 pillbox. The later pillboxes were more shoddy and less sturdy since they were hastily thrown up, and thus more vulnerable to enemy fire; this was built out of concrete blocks instead of being 1 big piece of concrete like its older brethren.

Crater-ed land. Utah sector is in the background.

They had a fake gun emplacement here with fake guns while they waited for the pillboxes to be completed, whereupon they brought the real guns back in.


2 bomb craters. These were the deepest I could find.


Another crater

We were told that at Benouville, the first place liberated from the Germans (as opposed to the first town - Sainte-Mère-Église or the first city - Bayeux), there were French plaques saying it was liberated at 11pm French time and midnight British time. But then British time is 1 hour behind. Wth.

As we drove to the next destination we were shown Fortress-Farms, built during the 16th century wars of religion so people could barricade themselves inside. They had few openings to the outside and some gunholes.

When we reached Omaha beach, it was high tide. At low tide, there would be ground till the last buoy (600-700m out).


Present sea wall - Germans had anti-tank wall
I think this means that the Germans had built an anti-tank wall equivalent to the current seawall.

Only 6/40 amphibious tanks reached the beach, and in the first few minutes half were destroyed, since the bombing of Omaha had failed. Pity. The engineers' clearing also failed since they had no tanks to protect them, and they had to destroy the obstacles they were using as shelter. The beach was not clean, and 25,000 men landed in the wrong place - conscripts for the US, and professionals for the Commonwealth.

Unfortunately it started raining when we were on Omaha and we ran back to the minibus; I was the only one with an umbrella. I wanted to take a picture of the view of the hills from the beach (Omaha was the only of the 5 beaches with hills the troops had to climb - the rest were flat), and of the sea from the beach. Ah well.

The beaches have French names besides the D Day names (the popular, tourist names), taking their names from the villages they're near.

The next stop was the US cemetery.

>70% of US bodies were repatriated to the US, but there're 2 US cemeteries in Normandy with 9387 bodies. Meanwhile there're 18 Commonwealth cemeteries.

The names on the graves face the West - the direction of the USA.

Peace statue. It's pretentiously called 'The spirit of American Youth rising from the waves'.

US cemetery


View of the beach the Germans would've had, as Allied soldiers came up the hill.


Pond, memorial



The chapel had Jewish tablets with the 10 Commandments. Wth.


Chapel ceiling, interior. The mosaic is entitled 'America blessing her sons as they depart by sea and air to fight for freedom' and 'Grateful France bestowing a laurel wreath upon American Dead who gave their lives to liberate Europe's oppressed peoples'
Somehow I doubt that, in 60 years, we'll have 'Grateful Iraq bestowing a laurel wreath upon American Dead who gave their lives to liberate the Middle East's oppressed peoples'

Apparently even in Paris stuff closes on Sunday. The guide remarked that Sunday was a good day for a tour, since the law banned working on Sunday despite students wanting to work to get money for their studies (only tourist places and souvenir shops near them were allowed to open). And apparently the French in the north go to Belgium to shop.

We then returned to Bayeux for lunch. I didn't want to waste time (and risk missing the rest of the tour) and money, so I had a cheap lunch (not in a restaurant).

Tanners, Dyers district of Bayeux

Side stream cutting Allee des Tanneurs, behind Palais de Justice, Place de Quebec

After lunch the tour resumed, with the British leg.

This was the biggest of the 18 Commonwealth cemeteries, with 5000 bodies. The Commonwealth tradition was to bury the dead as close to where they fell as possible, which was why there were 300 Commonwealth soldiers in civilian cemeteries.

The Commonwealth cemetery was much more interesting than the German and American ones. The Commonwealth people like gardens, so there're flowers in Commonwealth cemeteries. In the spirit of the Commonwealth, non-Commonwealth can also be buried in Commonwealth cemeteries.

The tombstones are also interesting. Those from Canadian units had the Maple Leaf at the top of the tombstones. The rest had the crests of their divisions.

If non-Christians were buried in a grave but didn't say they didn't want a religious symbol, they'd get a cross. Egyptian soldiers got Egyptian crosses.

Grave of a freethinker

Epitaphs were also a peculiarity of the Commonwealth graves, as opposed to the German and American cemeteries. Non-Commonwealth gravestones had a different shape.

~500 Germans were buried in the Commonwealth cemetery, but their graves were grouped together. Better than nothing, I suppose.

Clustered graves
Where graves were clustered, this was an indication that the men had died together and they couldn't identify/sort the remains out. For example, people in a plane or tank that got blown up.

Variety of gravestones
In the front row we see 2 Russian and 2 Czech graves.

There're crosses with swords on them in all Commonwealth cemeteries. Even the one with only 47 people.

More graves


Memorial to MIA soldiers

English humour - “NOS A GULIELMO VICTI VICTORIS PATRIAM LIBERAVIMUS” (“We, once conquered by William, have now set free the conqueror's native land”)
The guide described this as English humour and said most people didn't get it. She said the first time she didn't find it funny, but later she did. So maybe the way to get the French to have a sense of humour is to have them be tour guides.

A temperature sign said it was 23 degrees celsius. Yay.

There were poppies in the British cemetery. How appropriate, given that they are painkillers. We should grow them here too. Oh, but that would be encouraging drug addiction, which is a Bad Thing (TM).
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